Aloha 2016

2015 watercolour

It was a project I started unintentionally in January with the aim of using my watercolour set to capture what that first month of 2015 meant to me. Somehow it continued through 12 months of ups and downs – small catchphrases that summed up 4 week interludes; brief snapshots of an unfolding story.

2015 has been better than 2014 – not that that was difficult. If I’m honest, it was a little bland overall. Nothing huge changed, I achieved quite a few of the things I aimed to achieve but I started out at such a low point that I didn’t really have time to make sense of anything or plan.

It’s been a middling year; a season in which the primary aim was for time to pass and wounds to heal. Sometimes, time just has to take its course without my plans or expectations getting in its way. 2015 carved its own course with little steering or focus from me and on reflection, that has set me up well for 2016.

If nothing else, 2015 has taught me how to relinquish some control over the direction of my life. It has taught me to live each day as it comes – not that I have mastered that quite yet(!) – and it has taught me that time brings with it its own challenges and hidden delights. Like a stream that picks up, carries and deposits the pebbles and debris it encounters, time continues to flow no matter what you try to do to stop or divert it, accommodating whatever life moments it stumbles across.

My aim for this month was to Look Up and Anticipate 2016 and I definitely enjoyed this time. I celebrated with friends and family in lots of ways from parties to carol singing to ice skating. I also read and re-read the Christmas story, which means so much more than the revelry, and I’ve given myself time to ponder the coming year so that the joy of anticipation isn’t lost in fairly lights and Lebkuchen.

I’m not expecting huge things from 2016 other than what the passing of time naturally presents – and I think I’m ok with that. I want to bake more, I want to have more time to myself, I want to read more and I want to move more towards that wonderful Hawaiian lifestyle we were privileged to experience in March. Here’s to hoping that the islands who gave birth to my name will pervade in 2016 with hellos, goodbyes, love and hospitality: Aloha 2016.

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Graze box

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I am a grazer by nature. I don’t often have big portions at traditional mealtimes but I eat constantly throughout the day. Being wheat intolerant, I find (although this may be entirely in my head) that eating little and often helps with symptoms like stomach pain. Plus I like food a lot so eating all the time isn’t exactly an inconvenience.

However, I did find that I wasn’t always snacking on the healthiest of foods – chocolate was and is one of my favourite things so that featured a lot – and it was getting quite expensive to fund my never-ending nibbling.

Enter the graze box. My husband encouraged me to sign up for this for many reasons:

  1. Primarily, it was something new and fun and different each week to look forward to, which he knew I would enjoy.
  2. It satisfied my grazing habit.
  3. It was healthy in some fashion – either low in calories, or high in fibre or one of my 5 a day. Every graze punnet has some kind of health benefit.
  4. It helped with our budgeting as the same amount was spent each week.

As soon as I signed up, I ‘binned’ everything that had wheat in. I then went through and binned items I knew I wouldn’t like – I’m not a fan of coconut flakes for example so I got rid of the options that had those in. Each week I rate the choices I’ve been sent as ‘like’ or ‘love’, or I ‘bin’ them so that I don’t get sent them again. It’s super easy.

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I’m so pleased my hubby encouraged me to try it out as I now have such fun opening my box every week to see what I’ve been sent, knowing that it’s all wheat-free and that I won’t be sent anything I don’t like.

And the best part? They have a wheat-free black forest slice – my favourite!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this post.